The Command & Conquer: Tiberian series is a sub-series of real-time strategy video games belonging to the extensive Command & Conquer franchise by Westwood Studios and Electronic Arts. The games of the Tiberian series are the direct chronological successors to the 1996 title of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, and are set in a fictional alternate history in which an anomalous extraterrestrial substance known as Tiberium is brought to Earth through a meteoric collision during the early 1990s. The substance's intriguing yet hazardous properties begin to fuel an escalating war between two globalized factions; the United Nations' Global Defense Initiative, who wish to prevent the proliferation of Tiberium for safety reasons, and the mysterious and ancient Brotherhood of Nod society, who embrace the substance as the herald of a new age and the next stage in humanity's evolution.
Versions of Command & Conquer were released for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and Nintendo 64 platforms, all of which contained the Covert Operations missions as well as a package of a few additional missions entitled Special Ops. The Nintendo 64 version of Command & Conquer also featured 3D graphics instead of sprites in the series for the first time. The game additionally was one of the first to be released on two CDs, instead of one, allowing multiplayer games between two computers to be played with a single copy of the game.
Tiberian Sun was often speculated to be a BattleMech-type game prior to its release, due to a promotional preview of the game within the ending cutscenes of the original Command & Conquer, which extensively showcased an experimental battle-walker prototype (which appeared in Tiberian Sun as the GDI Wolverine) being field tested by the Global Defense Initiative. Upon its release, TS would prove to continue the real-time strategy formula, however three futuristic mech walker units were introduced to GDI's side (the Wolverine, the Titan, and the Mammoth Mk. II), replacing the more conventional jeeps and tanks the faction had used within the original Command & Conquer.
The full motion videos were scripted differently from their counterparts in the series. While Command & Conquer and Command & Conquer: Red Alert FMV sequences were filmed from first-person perspective, Tiberian Sun used traditional cinematic shots which featured acclaimed Hollywood actors such as James Earl Jones and Michael Biehn. The soundtrack of Tiberian Sun again was composed by Frank Klepacki, but departed from the industrial/hip-hop styles of its prequel in favor of slow, moody and ambient music, reflecting the game's apocalyptic background setting of a world being ecologically ravaged by Tiberium, and a humanity facing an increasingly uncertain future. A CD of the game's soundtrack was also released.
Tiberian Sun's storyline followed the continuing struggle for world domination between the Global Defense Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod, as well as the human race's struggle with the relentlessly advancing alien Tiberium substance. Nod's leader and GDI's public enemy #1, Kane, resurfaces from an apparently faked death nearly 40 years after the initial conflict, which sets off the Second Tiberium War between the Global Defense Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod. The game's theme also subtly revolves around the question of why Tiberium came to earth in the first place, with the discovery of what appears to be an alien spacecraft and a mysterious object known as the Tacitus.
Despite the anticipation surrounding the title, Tiberian Sun was released to mixed reviews. Delays had caused the game to take a total of four and a half years to develop, and as a result the game suffered from outdated features. Many found the game performance to be sluggish on all but the latest computers of the time as well, and numerous of Tiberian Sun's touted innovative features, such as intelligent and adaptive skirmish AI, unit veterancy and real-time lighting were severely scaled back as the result of time constraints. Westwood Studios later would eliminate many of the performance and stability problems of Tiberian Sun, and would reuse its 3D engine for the production of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2.
The game engine, called the "Renegade engine" or "Westwood 3D", was developed in-house by Westwood. It could support real world physics and allow seamless movement from indoor to outdoor evironments. The game also took on one of the most unusual approaches to the FPS genre. The player could interact with structure units from the original C&C game, which is still unique and original. Through the game, Havoc can enter and destroy enemy structures with C4 explosives, drive mammoth tanks, MRLSs and other classic Command & Conquer vehicles.
The multiplayer mode extended these concepts further, giving this FPS many mechanics of the RTS. For instance, a player would be given a budget to individually purchase and drive vehicles. Two players could also man a single vehicle as a driver and gunner team. Massive environments allowed for large armoured battles as well as subterfuge. A player could also target and launch the famous Ion Cannon or Nuclear Warhead superweapons. Destroying specific enemy buildings would, depending on the buildings' purpose, cripple electrical power, Tiberium gathering, base defences, or unit production capabilities. The ultimate objective was to eradicate the opponent's base.
The game was not without its shortcomings. Critics have pointed out the lackluster graphics, poor AIs and "laggy" online performance for the reason why it failed to achieve popularity. However, such problems with lag have since been fixed and there are on average 50 servers, and up to 450 people still playing online at any one time. The Renegade network is now run by Strike Team and Black-hand Studios, in association with EA.
Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars is the title of the third game in the Tiberian storyline. After several years of circulating rumors that Westwood Studios was working on a new Tiberian game - rumors which were fueled by leaked concept art posted on the Internet by artists who once worked at Westwood, interviews with Louis Castle as well as posters of C&C3 concept art in The First Decade game-collection - Electronic Arts finally announced on 18 April 2006 that a third game in the C&C series was in the development stages by them.
Before this announcement, fans referred to the speculated third game in the series as "Tiberian Twilight", as it had been discovered that http://www.tiberiantwilight.com had been registered by Westwood and still leads to EA's webpage for the Command & Conquer series. The official website is: http://www.ea.com/commandandconquer/
The game features "Risk-on-steroids"-type gameplay where the players move their armies around the world. The actual battles are fought with traditional Command & Conquer gameplay. The campaign spans two decades in telling the "behind-the-scenes" story of Nod from the end of the Firestorm Crisis to five years after the Third Tiberium War.
Gameplay is based on Westwood's previous Dune II, in which the player does not take the role of any on-screen individual, but instead takes the role of a commander who oversees military operations on the battlefield remotely through a fictional AI entity known as the "Electronic Video Agent" (EVA), which enables the player to construct a base and deploy and command troops.
The base is built through a futuristic and little-explained mechanism whereby buildings are constructed off-screen and then remotely deployed at the desired location. The one exception is the Construction Yard - the centre of base operations - which is responsible for the construction of other buildings. The Construction Yard cannot be built directly but instead must be deployed from a unit known as the Mobile Construction Vehicle.
The base is responsible for the production of all military units - troops, vehicles and aircraft. These efforts are funded by the alien Tiberium substance which acts as a self-replenishing resource that can be refined into funds for the respective sides to finance their war efforts with. The player must therefore create refineries and use harvesters to collect the resource from Tiberium fields on the gameplay map.
In each game the player can choose between two campaigns, each corresponding to either the Global Defense Initiative or the Brotherhood of Nod factions. The campaign consists of a string of missions, with the objectives for each one detailed in a cutscene immediately before the mission begins. In Command & Conquer, the player is addressed directly by the game characters (including the EVA). Conversely, in Tiberian Sun the player is depicted as an on-screen character and the mission briefings are mostly described passively, though in many cases the EVA addresses the player directly in separate cutscenes. Normally the Campaigns are each in their own timeline and do not co-exist. In Firestorm, the two are actually intertwined, a first for the C&C series. Also, now Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars also has such a storyline.
In addition to detailing mission objectives, the cutscenes follow the overall storyline, though in most cases the two are one and the same.
The EVA goes on to explain the nature of the Tiberium substance around which much of the game's storyline indirectly revolves:
In a later briefing, the EVA provides more background information and new discoveries concerning Tiberium:
Whereas most technobabble is merely speculative, inaccurate, or fictitious, this blurb is simply nonsensical, and the properties and workings of Tiberium were wholly redefined in Tiberium Wars.
In a later cutscene in Tiberian Dawn, after learning of Tiberium's deadly toll on ecology and humanity:
Tiberium is never fully explained in the series, and is constantly surrounded in a mystery which only deepens as the storyline progresses throughout the successive Command & Conquer games.
In the campaign of the Global Defense Initiative, the First Tiberium War comes to an end when Kane's temple in Sarajevo is destroyed by a final GDI assault. The Nod campaign results in a Nod victory over the GDI, however the series assumes a GDI victory when the storyline is revisited in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, which depicts the Second Tiberium War. The expansion pack Covert Operations has various missions that show a concurrent campaign occurring. At the end of the conflict, GDI has won the war in Europe by capturing and destroying the Temple of Nod with the aid of the Ion Cannon. To prevent the loss of Nod-controlled Africa, the player must take a Nod strike team and destroy an advanced communications centre located somewhere on the continent in order to ensure that GDI does not regain dominance. Other missions like "Infiltration" suggest an ongoing attempt by GDI to deploy back into Nod-controlled Africa as the briefing states Eastern Sudan as the location of the mission.
Meanwhile, Tiberium has been ravaging the world for 35 years and has grown in many varieties, mutating flora and fauna and forcing humans to move to the polar regions, where the spread of tiberium is slowed down by cold, arid conditions. Many regions around the planet have entered the desertification process, and natural resources other than tiberium are becoming nonexistent. As a result of the spread of tiberium, the world's population is decreasing at an alarming rate. Many countries, as well as the United Nations, cease to exist. The GDI is the last powerful military/political organization on Earth.
Beyond the problem of simply fighting the spread of tiberium, GDI also has to deal with the reappearance of Kane, who, along with a core group of loyalists, reunites the fractured Brotherhood of Nod, which has been splintered since the end of the First Tiberium War. The reunification of the Brotherhood precipitates a revolution across the globe, offering a new hope to those worst afflicted by Tiberium, not in the form of a promise to be rid of the substance (which would prove lethal to many mutants among the new generation), but in the form of the prospect of adapting to and assimilating in to the emerging Tiberium ecosystem. A second fight for world domination ensues. This war is an important turn in history for many reasons: the discovery of an alien spacecraft (which was, in fact, secretly built by Nod under the command of Kane himself), the role of the Forgotten mutants, the creation of more deadly and powerful weapons like Tiberium bio-warheads, and most of all, the discovery of a mysteriously originated object called the "Tacitus". The conflict eventually becomes truly worldwide, and the player is taken to battlefields in various regions of the globe, like Norway, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Mexico, the United States, etc. The Second Tiberium war finally ends with a battle in Cairo wherein Kane attempts to launch a MIRV-ICBM into the upper atmosphere to spread tiberium throughout the atmosphere. However, GDI finally defeats Nod in Cairo and Kane is supposedly killed by Commander McNeil himself.
In March 2047 the Brotherhood of Nod suddenly attacks the vulnerable link in the GDI's space-based military assets, the Goddard Space Institute, taking the A-SAT missile defence systems offline and permitting Nod to fire a nuclear missile at GDI's orbiting command station Philadelphia at the precise moment GDI's senior leadership are aboard in council. Since the end of the Second Tiberium War, Nod silently built up its influence and its military potential into the status of a true superpower, and is now supported by a significant percentage of the world's population through medical aid, enforcement of stability and hate-mongering against GDI and the "blue zone" populations from within the "yellow zone" territories. Unprepared to handle the offensives led by Nod shock troops across the entire globe (due to 60% of the GDI's bases having been de-commissioned over the revisions of their budget in the past few years), the remainder of the Global Defense Initiative's top military and political officials on Earth take charge and begin rallying all of their standing forces, determined to achieve a new victory over Nod. Later on in the campaign GDI launches an attack upon Nod's rebuilt temple prime in Sarajevo. Upon capture of the temple they discover that Kane has locked himself away below the temple and that he has also been working on a Liquid Tiberium Bomb. GDI then confiscate all of the components of the Liquid-T bomb and decide to try and 'sweat Kane out'. In an incoming transmission Director Redmond Boyle orders the firing of the ion cannon upon the temple, despite advice from his military advisors that this would be a bad idea. The ion cannon strikes the temple and causes a truly massive explosion as the blast strikes a deposit of Liquid-T hidden below the temple. This causes a cataclysmic chain reaction, causing havoc within red and yellow zones across the world. As the conflict ensues, forces of alien origin known only as the Scrin, suddenly enter the battle and alter the nature of the Third Tiberium War entirely. At this point in the Nod campaign, Kane unveils his plans, and the fact that he knew that a Liquid-T detonation would alert the 'Visitors' (as he calls the Scrin) to earth, however in his experiments he could not find a detonator which would give the blast yield needed for such an explosion, the only thing which his scientists calculated could provide enough yield was GDI's ion cannon. This of course meant starting the third Tiberium war with GDI.
Unlike previous installments of Command and Conquer games, the storyline of the factions appear to be intertwined in the same fashion as the story of Firestorm was. In one faction's campaign, references are made to events and missions that occurred in the campaigns of the other factions, therefore it appears that the events in all of the campaigns are canonical. For example, after the completion of the Nod Temple Prime Mission the FMV shows the destruction of Temple Prime by GDI's Ion Cannon, which is actually a playable mission in the GDI campaign.
Throughout the Soviet's campaign, Kane is seen to make infrequent appearances as a mysterious counselor to Joseph Stalin, and the story implies he has in fact been instigating the world war between the Soviet Union and the Allied nations in order to further the Brotherhood of Nod's long-term goals. Indeed -- Nadia, one of Stalin's other closest advisers and evidently a member of the Brotherhood herself as early as the 1950s, instructs the player to "keep the peace" until Nod would "tire of the USSR in the early 1990s" upon the campaign's successful conclusion. Kane however then shoots her without warning, and proclaims to the player that he "[is] the future". Moreover, during the fifth cutscene of the Allied campaign, a news announcer reporting on the Allies' loss of Greece is suddenly heard stating that the United Nations are in the process of bringing about a unique military task force in order to prevent future globalized conflicts. This task force is heavily implied to have been "Special Operations Group Echo: Black Ops 9" -- the covert and international peace enforcing unit of the United Nations and the precursor of the Global Defense Initiative, one of the two main and iconic factions of the Tiberian series along with the Brotherhood of Nod.
A much debated theory intended to resolve the apparent time line error which came to exist between Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is to consider Red Alert as the genesis of two parallel story lines. If the Soviet campaign were to be successfully completed in Red Alert, then the USSR would emerge as the dominant Eurasian power and the Brotherhood of Nod would subsequently take control of this new empire. Conversely, if the Allied campaign were to be completed in Red Alert, the Allies would emerge victorious and the time line would instead lead into the events of Red Alert 2. It should be noted however that this theory is in direct contradiction to the original Tiberian Dawn manual, which states that Nod is an African group in its origin, making no mention of the Soviet Union whatsoever. Additionally, a GDI FMV mission briefing sequence in Tiberian Dawn features a map with all of the GDI member states of the time, with one of them being Russia itself. Also, during Red Alert's Allied campaign a newscaster refers to the United Nations having approved "a unique military funding initiative", calling for the formation of a "global defense agency", both vociferous references to the international military alliance of identical naming in Tiberian Dawn, which nonetheless is not featured in Red Alert 2 in any form. A further apparent flaw of this theory is that if the Allies had been defeated by the Soviet Union in Red Alert, the future Group of Eight would not have existed to have first set up the Global Defense Initiative by becoming its primary founding nations.
According to former C&C designer Adam "Ishmael" Isgreen, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn follows the events of Red Alert's Allied campaign, while Red Alert 2 and Yuri's Revenge take place in a parallel universe created by an attempt to alter the past in "Tiberian Incursion", which was known to be the working title of Westwood's cancelled sequel to Tiberian Sun: Firestorm. Isgreen also implied that Nikola Tesla was responsible for inadvertently having attracted the attention of the Scrin through his experiments, and thus for the arrival of Tiberium on Earth.
When the Command & Conquer: The First Decade compilation was released in February 2006, Electronic Arts divided the Command & Conquer series into three distinct universes, with this apparently violating the storyline connections between Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn initially established by Westwood Studios. With the subsequent release of the title Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars in March 2007, however, Electronic Arts published a document pertaining to C&C 3's storyline in which a reference to Kane's appearances in the 1950s of Command & Conquer: Red Alert is made.